By Mark Jurdjevic
Like many population of booming metropolises, Machiavelli alternated among love and hate for his local urban. He usually wrote scathing feedback approximately Florentine political myopia, corruption, and servitude, but additionally wrote approximately Florence with delight, patriotism, and assured desire of higher occasions. regardless of the alternating tones of sarcasm and melancholy he used to explain Florentine affairs, Machiavelli supplied a stubbornly chronic experience that his urban had the entire fabrics and strength important for a wholesale, victorious, and epochal political renewal. As he memorably positioned it, Florence used to be "truly a very good and wretched city."
Mark Jurdjevic specializes in the Florentine size of Machiavelli's political proposal, revealing new features of his republican convictions. via The Prince, Discourses, correspondence, and, such a lot considerably, Florentine Histories, Jurdjevic examines Machiavelli's political profession and relationships to the republic and the Medici. He indicates that major and as but unrecognized facets of Machiavelli's political concept have been highly Florentine in idea, content material, and goal. From a brand new point of view and armed with new arguments, an excellent and Wretched City reengages the venerable debate approximately Machiavelli's courting to Renaissance republicanism. Dispelling the parable that Florentine politics provided Machiavelli purely adverse classes, Jurdjevic argues that his contempt for the city's shortcomings used to be an immediate functionality of his significant estimation of its unrealized political potential.
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Extra info for A Great and Wretched City: Promise and Failure in Machiavelli's Florentine Political Thought
Some were secular and political, like the law of appeal and the Great Council, but most were religious, like his organi zation of traditional youth groups into dedicated vehicles for the enforcement of his moral agenda, the bonfi res of the vanities, and the attacks on gambling, prostitution, and sodomy. Savonarola defended all these new institutions in terms of divine approval and claimed through his status as a prophet to have special communion with God. In particu lar, Machiavelli’s discussion of the generative effects of Numa’s deceit suggests that we should reevaluate the valence of Savonarola’s use of bugie.
But that which to many was far more distressing and brought on disunion was the sect under whose command your city lay. I speak of that great Savonarola who, inspired with heavenly vigor, kept you [Florence] closely bound with his words. 45, Machiavelli used Savonarola as an example of the lesson that authors of new laws should always abide by them. “Among other enactments to give the citizens security, he got a law passed permitting appeal to the people from the sentences of the Eight and the Signoria in political cases.
In virtuous regimes, such as the Roman republic, it is possible for wise citizens to extinguish envy in others without recourse to violence. In corrupt cultures, however, no amount of persuasion will convince men to accept higher reputation and status for someone else, even if their obstinacy means the ruin of their country. In such contexts, given the stakes and the intractability of the envious, a wise reformer has no recourse other than to destroy his envious opponents. Machiavelli’s fi rst two examples of this problem were Moses and Savonarola.